Conference attendees enjoyed a great day-one at the first ever Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship conference Madison, Wisconsin, thanks to the hard work of the conference committee: outgoing SOF president John Hamill, and trustees Richard Joyrich, Earl Showerman and Bonner Cutting on the program committee, and on-site committee members Sara Tedeschi and Eddy Nix.
“It’s a vibrant time in the lives of Shakespeare authorship followers; there is tremendous momentum in the debate and increasingly excellent scholarship collecting within and around the Oxfordian position. If in doubt, sit back and enjoy the depth and breadth of the conference proceedings and decide for yourself how far the conversation has come.”
This year, for the first time, these conference proceedings will be available as video, thanks to Nix’s dedication to his project of recording presenters. Those recordings will be available on this site soon after the conference.
First day presenters included Shelly Maycock on “Intertextual Connections between Jonson’s Encomium in the First Folio and Shakespeare’s Richard III as Intertextual Keys to Concealed Authorship”, Julie Bianchi on a genealogical approach to the authorship question, and James Norwood on Mark Twain’s non-Stratfordian view of the authorship question.
Norwood, who holds a PhD in dramatic art, gave a masterful presentation that will without doubt become a video highlight of the conference. He said that a copy of the print version with bibliography and addendum is available by contacting him at <mailto:email@example.com>.
SOF trustee Richard Joyrich, MD, who attended the session said, “Norwood was inspired by the recent release of Twain’s 2000 page autobiography in installments — two volumes already released in 2010 and 2013 — that has shed new light on Twain’s creative process and his views on how an author works.”
Norwood said, “In this massive biography one can discern a kind of literary DNA that we can apply to the authorship question.”
Julie Bianchi’s discussion of DNA, was also ably reported by Joyrich, who — as a doctor of nuclear medicine — presumably has a leg-up on this complex topic:
Julie Bianchi explained how the study of genealogy can be augmented by the use of three types of commercially available DNA testing methods (which are not as scientifically detailed as those used in forensic medicine). She had to get a little technical, but I think she made her points very well. The use of testing for autosomal DNA, mitochondrial DNA (passed on only by the mother) and y-DNA (passed on only be the father) can help to establish a familial relationship, but only if you are able to test living descendants for which you already have some good genealogical evidence of descent. The obvious use of these techniques that we Oxfordians would be interested in is to try to establish whether or not the Prince Tudor theory has any merit. However, Julie detailed how difficult this would be (if not impossible) because of our lack of any suitable living descendants of Queen Elizabeth, Edward de Vere, or Henry Wriothesely. It might be done if we could identify some descendants of female or male relatives of these three (depending on whether we wanted to use mitochondrial DNA testing or y-DNA testing), but it will still prove to be a daunting task at the present time.
As the last presentation of the afternoon, your reporter — who is a member of the SOF committee charged with pursuing a centennial celebration of the publication of Shakespeare Identified in Edward de Vere Seventeenth Earl of Oxford in 1920 — led a 15-minute brainstorm on the topic of a Shakespeare Identified centennial celebration with conference attendees. Readers can learn more on the SOF Shakespeare Identified 100 webpage and can participate in a “Think Looney! digital brainstorm” online.